Bow Pose (Dhanurāsana) and Variations

Bow & Variations Stretches the front of the body

Key Benefits

Opens the chest and shoulders

Stimulates the nervous system

Stretches the spine

Lengthens the entire front of the body

Massages the internal organs

Aids digestion

Relieves nervous tension


Lay on your front with your arms alongside your body. Rest your forehead on the floor and take a couple of deep breaths. Allow any tension to soften and dissolve.

Inhale; bring your heels towards your buttocks as you reach back to take hold of your ankles.

Exhale; lift your chest as you simultaneously draw on your feet, working the soles of your feet and heart centre upwards. Only lift as far as you can, being careful not to strain your spine. It’s fine if you can’t actually lift up off the floor. Your will still receive the benefits of the pose. The more your practice, the stronger and more flexible your spine will become and the more freedom you will have in the pose.

Relax your shoulders and breathe into the back of your body. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable in the pose. Feel your shoulders working towards each other, and your spine, chest and thighs opening and lengthening.

To come out of the pose: Continue to consciously lengthen your spine as you slowly lower your thighs and chest to the floor. Exhaling; turn your head to one side and place it on the floor; release your ankles. Rock your hips from side to side for a few breaths. Enjoy the invigorating sensation the pose has created throughout your entire body. Come into Child’s Pose and rest until you feel your spine has released.

Modifications & Variations 

To build up stamina in this asana, you can hold the pose for 2-3 breaths, lower your legs and chest and turn your head to one side, without releasing you feet. Lift up in to the pose again and hold for another short interval. Repeat this several times. Over time, increase the length of time in the pose, and decrease the number of intervals.

Place a folded blanket under your hips if you find it uncomfortable on your hip bones.